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Tesla testing five-seat Model S sedan, production in 2012

Tesla has sold about 1500 of EV Roadsters globally since its debut in 2008. It’s a small number, particularly when compared to how many Toyota sells a week around the world.

But Tesla hopes its Model S will bring a practical, stylish electric sedan to more garages at about half the price of the EV Roadster.

The development of the five-seater Model S has been a long and twisty road, but Tesla final has rolled out the car for testing.

“The first Alpha (test car) is amazingly agile for a car of its size. It has great handling balance and a poised ride with communicative steering. Just goes to show what combining a low center of gravity with a very stiff body structure can achieve,” said test driver Graham Sutherland.

Tesla says it will be road testing the alpha Model S in the next few months to improve the car’s handling dynamics.

When in production, customers will be able to specify the Model S with three battery pack options that provide driving ranges of 160, 230 or 300 miles.

The Model S will be priced at about $49,000.00 including the $7,500 federal tax credit. Its estimated 0-60 mph speed will be 5.6 seconds, according to Tesla. Production of the Model S is expected to begin in 2012.

Roman Mica, a contributing editor of dev.theweeklydriver.com, previewed the Model S at the Northern American International Auto Show in Detroit.

To read more of Roman Mica’s automotive content, visit: www.tflcar.com.

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